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European Integration: Politics of the European Union




Admission Requirements

Similarly-tagged 100/200-level courses or permission from the instructor.


This course takes a fresh look at European integration and recent developments in the European Union (EU). We first look at theories of European integration to see how they ‘interpret’ the process of European integration. We then explore a range of policy areas and put particular emphasis on how the EU is adapting in terms of its role in international organizations, the establishment and development of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and recent developments in terms of European economic and financial governance. The course also studies how some institutional changes – notably since the ratification of the 2009 Treaty of Lisbon – affect the ways in which the EU works, examples being the European Council as an ‘agenda-setter’, the enhanced role of the European Parliament (EP) and negotiation dynamics within the Council of the EU. Clearly, decision-making in the EU is influenced by political processes and it matters, for example, which political parties are in government in the EU’s member states in terms of the speed and character of decisions that are taken in various policy areas. Students will contribute to the exploration of such topics by preparing short presentations, writing essays and exploring a topic more in-depth on the basis of a research paper. This final research can focus on a variety of topics, such as developments in European public opinion, challenges to the EU’s diplomatic service, changes in the economic and monetary realm or the role of the EU in international organizations.

Course Objectives

Students get familiarized with theories of European integration and with recent developments in the European Union (EU). They learn how political processes affect the ways in which EU institutions act and how the EU operates in areas such as external action and economic and monetary governance. Students apply knowledge gained in the course to concrete, recent developments in the EU and on the basis of short essays, presentations and a final research paper, learn how to analyze and interpret recent steps in European integration.